How to Engage Millennials in the Workplace
With millennials set to make up 50 percent of the global workforce by 2020, and 75 percent by 2025, it's important that employers who haven't already adapted their companies to attract this generation of workers start to think about making some changes. While there are always some workplace issues created by the generation gap, the millennial generation is unique in many ways and demands different things from their jobs than previous generations did. Keeping them motivated is vital because motivated employees are better employees.
With that in mind, here are five ways to make sure your business continues to thrive by keeping your millennial employees fully engaged at work.
1. Social Impact
For many millennials, it is not enough that their work simply be a way of earning a paycheck. This generation is unique in its social consciousness, and members of the millennial generation make decisions based on that awareness. According to a Business Insider article, 90 percent of millennials say that their purchasing decisions are influenced by a company's social commitment, while 63 percent say that they expect their employers to contribute to a social cause.
Millennials are more likely to stay engaged at work (and come to work for you in the first place) if your business has a reputation for social responsibility. Anything you can do to show a connection between employee value and work, such as providing opportunities for volunteering or donating to a worthy cause, can go a long way towards keeping those employees engaged.
2, Employee Recognition and Feedback
One of the most crucial mistakes that managers often make with millennial employees is failing to communicate with them regularly. Millennials crave regular feedback on their work, not because they want to be patted on the back every time they complete an assignment, but because they want to do solid work. Millennials often seek out feedback as a way of growing in their jobs and ensuring that their work is valuable to the company.
With that being said, some form of employee recognition can be a great way of motivating millennial employees, just as it is with workers from other generations. It may not always be obvious at first glance, but millennials are just as ambitious as anyone else. However, if they suspect that their work is not valued because managers don't communicate with them, then they may channel that ambition into finding a new job.
3. Career Development
One of the reasons why millennials are so interested in performing well, receiving feedback, and earning recognition for their work is that they are very interested in career advancement. Millennials tend to disengage quickly if they feel stuck in a dead-end job.
This generation is well known for its interest in feeling connected with people and the world around them, but they want to feel connected with their work as well. In other words, millennial employees want to be able to fulfill some task that they are uniquely qualified for. They aim for positions where they feel that their skills will be put to use so they can best help the company. Managers can keep their millennials motivated by providing career training opportunities and stressing opportunities for advancement.
4. Encourage Socialization and Team Building
Just like with work, millennials also want to be able to connect with their co-workers, both in and out of the office. Smart managers will take heed and devote a significant portion of their time to team-building and encouraging socializing. One way they can do that is to embrace social media and other online platforms and encourage employees to join in. While some may view this as a potential distraction, it can ultimately help your business by turning your workforce into a tightly-knit community and facilitating strong communication between your employees.
5. Be Flexible
While millennials can be highly dedicated to their work when some of the above conditions have been met, it doesn't mean they love the idea of spending eight hours cooped up in an office every day. For the first generation of digital natives, the very idea of an office can feel somewhat antiquated since they are fully aware of how much work can be accomplished with little more than an Internet connection. It may seem counter-intuitive, but while many millennials are extremely interested in forming meaningful connections with their work and their fellow employees, they also tend to view themselves as being more independent than workers from earlier generations. Employers may find that they will get the most productivity out of their millennial employees by giving them the freedom to work remotely when possible, and by creating a casual office environment that allows employees to move around and work in groups.
Work with your millennials to help them feel a part of the company and motivated to do great work.